Know all men by these presents, That I, Patsay (a woman of color), heretofore indentured agreeably to the laws of Illinois territory, to M. Street, and having recently been purchased by Dr. Alexander Posey, at sheriff sale, as the property of said Street, do hereby covenant and agree with said Posey to remain with Mrs. Street as her servant during the full period for which the aforesaid indentures were taken; and furthermore I do hereby voluntarily and of my own accord agree to go with the said Mrs. Street to Prairie du Chien, or wherever else she may wish to reside, and to serve her, in the capacity of a servant as above stated; and I do hereby again aver that my going with Mrs. Street, as aforesaid, is of my own free will and accord, and not through the compulsion or evertion [sic] of said Posey or any other person.
Given under my hand this 24th day of May, A. D. 1828. Patsay, her X mark.
Witness: P. Redman, John Marshall, Joseph Caldwell.
State of Illinois, } > ss: Gallatin County. }
Before me personally appeared Patsay (a woman of color) whose mark is affixed to her name in the following [foregoing] instrument of writing, and acknowledged the same to be her free and voluntary act and deed for the purposes therein named; and that the same was done in the absence of Dr. Posey. Given under my hand and seal this 24th day of May, 1828.
Thomas F. Vaught, J. P.
Le Grant Sterling in 1847 carried his plow on his shoulders from West Prairie to Mt. Sterling, on his way to Prairie du Chien, to get it sharpened. At Mt. Sterling, his load getting rather heavy, he hired a horse and rode the residue of the distance. On his way back he overtook Alexander Latshaw, whose wife was a relative, and a joyful meeting was of course the result. Mr. Latshaw was just then on his way out to settle in what is now Vernon, but what was then Crawford county.
The histories of the various States comprising the Union, are excedingly prolific in thrilling incidents, and especially may this be said of States bordering on the Mississippi river. Few of the thriving cities, towns and villages that line its banks from St. Paul to New Orleans, but have connected with their first settlement and after growth, circumstances which serve to invest them with more than ordinary interest, an interest the more fascinating from the fact, that the circumstances chronicled concerning them are just so far removed as to be out of our memory, and yet within the recollection of some of our elders, and indeed, upon the narratives of these men are we compelled to rely for the history of the western country. They tell us of the hardships and dangers endured by the early settlers, of
"The battles, sieges, fortunes ---
They have passed."
They picture in vivid colors the barbarities of the savages, their ruthless massacres and their fiendish cruelties.
It seems almost impossible that such things should have occurred in this age and country; and yet, fifty years ago, they were of common occurrence, and they are narrated by those who have witnessed them --- the hardy pioneers, who led the van of civilization into the vast wilderness of the west who, in youth, smoked the pipe of peace at the council fires of the savages, or mixed in deadly fray with this ruthless foe, and in old age they beheld the places where once their camp fires burned brightly, in the depth of unbroken forests, covered with the habitations of civilized life.
The unparalleled growth of this country is nowhere better evidenced than in this State. Half a century ago there were scarcely 1000 inhabitants, and but two settlements within its limits; to-day, the population is more than 1,000,000, and numerous cities, towns and villages have sprung up as by magic.
In the New England Magazine for September, 1832, --- a magazine edited by J. T. & E. Buckingham --- was printed an article reviewing a book entitled "A Tour to Prairie du Chien, etc.," by Caleb Atwater. Mr. Atwater's vision of an interoceanic railway was thus presented in his book:
"Along the National road, when completed from Wheeling to Jefferson City, in Missouri, a railroad might be made, and from thence up the Platte all the way to the Pacific, without a hill in the way worth naming. I know, from personal observation, that not a single hill or valley prevents the construction of a railroad from Wheeling to St. Louis; and that, I doubt not, is the worst part of the route. When locomotive engineers are brought to the perfection experience and ingenuity will soon bring them, goods and passengers could pass between the two seas in ten days. That this will be the route to China within fifty years from this time scarcely admits of a doubt. From sea to sea a dense population would dwell along the whole route, enliven the prospect with their industry, and animate the scene."
This was more than the interviewer, "a gentleman who has resided several years in the western country," could stand, and he demolished Mr. Atwater's railroad with the following words:
"Ay, when railroads shall have been constructed over 1000 miles of land almost as barren and arid as the desert of Sahara, this may be the channel of communication between New York and China. Pray, will the passengers in Mr. Atwater's locomotive engine carry their food with them, or will they stop to hunt the buffalo? Will the Indians have been exterminated, or will the steam cars run over them? Will forests have grown up on the road to supply his boilers with fuel?
That such a communication may take place between the Atlantic states and the East Indies some day, we will not dispute, for nothing is impossible with God; but that it will exist any time within the next two centuries we beg leave to doubt. The obstacles which exist at present are as follows: The Indian title is to be extinguished over a route of about 1500 miles; a railroad must be laid over two thirds of that distance; wood must grow along the road, and reservoirs must be constructed to supply the engines with water. This seems to be a wilder scheme than even that of Oregon emigration."
Antoine Valley died in the town of Prairie du Chien Feb. 28, 1881, in the 104th year of his age. He was born in St. Antonine, Canada, Nov. 4, 1777. He settled at Prairie du Chien in 1854. He was the father of eighteen children, nine of whom survived him. He practiced total abstinence from alcoholic drink, and died while giving thanks for blessings received.
Among the striking physical features of this county are the towering bluffs, which often rise to the height of from 400 to 600 feet, and which present their bold, rocky fronts on the whole line of their boundary, as well as along either bank of the principal streams. The bottom lands lying at the foot of these bluffs are very fertile; and the soil, which is a light, sandy loam, is of great value for the production of garden vegetables of every description, which come to maturity much sooner than on the high lands in the same localities. Through this county, near its centre, runs a divide, which separates the valley of the Mississippi from those of the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers; and from this, at right angles with it, are alterations of ridge and valley, the former generally wooded; while in the vales are fertile lands, valuable forests, prairie meadows and good water-powers on never failing streams.
Agriculture and trade have hitherto been the pursuits of the people, to the almost entire neglect of manufactures; the census of 1870 showing an aggregate of farm production of $823,000, while the products of our manufactures was but $240,000. But, during the past year, the people have awakened to the importance of manufactures, over all other branches of industry; and henceforth the hammer, loom and anvil are to have their devotees, as well as the plough. In the line of public improvement are excellent roads and good school houses, so numerous that every child enjoys the privilege of a good common school education. The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway extends along the southern line of the county for a distance of twenty miles. Bridgeport is one of the principal shipping points on the road for grain and live-stock; while at Prairie du Chien the company have one of the largest freight depots in the State, a grain elevator with a capacity of 250,000 bushels, and from which 275 cars have been loaded with wheat in a single day. The company have here large car works, a good passenger depot, and near this, one of the finest hotels in the west. The business of the company has increased so rapidly under its excellent management, that it has been compelled to erect a temporary bridge over the Mississippi for the transfer of trains during the winter; while in the season of navigation in 1870, three steamers were constantly engaged in the transfer of cars from one shore to the other.
The commerce of the county at this time has an extent and importance which few would imagine who have not examined the figures which show it; and this is not conducted by rail alone; but three organized lines of elegant steamers touch at the river town, and do not only a large freight, but passenger business also. The county is remarkably healthy, is well-watered and has heavy forests in every town. In her markets, lumber and all descriptions of building material are plenty and cheap. Improved lands may be purchased at from $15 to $30 per acre; and unimproved from $5 to $10. The public schools are under the charge of good teachers and an efficient county superintendent, and are accessible to nearly every child. In Prairie du Chien is a large German school, with an accomplished native teacher; while the Catholics have a large "sisters'" school, and will soon open another, of a higher grade, in a large and beautiful building, which was erected at a cost of $50,000.
The people of Crawford county are intelligent, industrious, wide-awake to their interests, and hence are good patrons of schools, churches and the press; and, taken all in all, the county possesses the natural and other advantages, which in future will permit her to take a front rank among those which make up the noble commonwealth of Wisconsin.
|Free white males||243|
|Free white females||102|
|Foreigners, not naturalized||101|
|Number of persons engaged in Agriculture||71|
|Number of persons engaged in Commerce||58|
|Number of persons engaged in Manufactures||29|
|Free colored males||7|
|Free colored females||9|
|All other persons except, Indians, not taxed||131|
Census of Crawford County for 1830.
|Free white males||1602|
|Free white females||1501|
|Free colored males||6|
|Free colored females||8|
Census of Crawford County for 1840.
|Free white males||1033|
|Free white females||464|
|Number of persons engaged in Agriculture||329|
|Number of persons engaged in Commerce||3|
|Number of persons engaged in Manufactures||102|
|Free colored males||1|
|Free colored females||4|
Census of Crawford County for 1850.
|Free colored males||4|
|Free colored females||13|
State Census for 1855.
|Prairie du Chien||815||678||13||13||1519||3||400|
Census of Crawford County for 1860.
|Prairie du Chien||1227||1143||14||14||2398|
Census of Crawford County for 1865.
|Prairie du Chien||1805||1727||42||3556|
Census of Crawford County for 1870.
|Pr'rie du Chien (town)||2457||1203||3642||13||3655|
|Pr'rie du Chien (city)||2700|
* In 1867 Lynxville merged into Seneca.
Census of Crawford County for 1875.
|Pr. du Chien (town)||394||326||720||1||1||2|
|Pr. du Chien (city)|
Census of Crawford County for 1880.
|Clayton, including the following villages||1976|
|Bell Center village, part of, (see Haney)||27|
|Soldier's Grove village||106|
|Wooster Mills village||62|
|Eastman, including Batavia village||1459|
|Haney, including part of Bell Center village||636|
|Bell Center village, part of, (see Clayton)||71|
|Prairie du Chien||724|
|Prairie du Chien city||2777|
|Seneca, including the following villages||1446|
|Utica, including the following villages||1496|
|Mt. Sterling village||95|
|Rising Sun village||53|
|Wauzeka, including Wauzeka village||1055|
It has incidently been mentioned that trading with the Indians was largely the employment of the early pioneers whose homes were upon the prairie. This was indeed the case for nearly, if not quite, sixty years after the first settlement there; and, in this connection, a few words with regard to the fur-trade, its origin, progress, and importance, are not out of place.
The northwest was visited and explored by French voyageurs and missionaries from Canada at an early day. The object of the former was trading and gain. The Jesuits, ever zealous in the propagation of their religion, went forth into the unknown wilderness to convert the natives to their faith. As early as 1624 they were operating about Lake Huron and Mackinaw. Father Menard, it is related, was with the Indians on Lake Superior as early as 1661. The early explorers were of two classes, and were stimulated by two widely different motives --- the voyageurs, by the love of gain, and the missionaries, by their zeal in the propagation of their faith. Previous to 1679, a considerable trade in furs had sprung up with Indian tribes in the vicinity of Mackinaw and the northern part of "Ouisconsin." In that year more than 200 canoes, laden with furs, passed Mackinaw, bound for Montreal. The whole commerce of this vast region then traversed, was carried on with birch-bark canoes. The French used them in traversing wilds --- otherwise inaccessible by reason of floods of water at one season, and ice and snow at another --- also lakes and morasses which interrupted land journeys, and rapids and cataracts that cut off communication by water. This little vessel enabled them to overcome all difficulties. Being buoyant, it rode the waves, although heavily freighted, and, of light draft, it permitted the traversing of small streams. Its weight was so light that it could be easily carried from one stream to another, and around rapids and other obstructions. With this little vessel, the fur trade of the northwest was carried on, as well as the interior of a vast continent explored. Under the stimulus of commercial enterprise, the French traders penetrated the recesses of the immense forests whose streams were the home of the beaver, the otter and the mink, and in whose depths were found the marten, sable, ermine, and other fur-bearing animals. A vast trade in furs sprung up, and was carried on by different agents, under authority of the French government.
When the military possession of the northwestern domain passed from the government of France to that of Great Britain, in 1760, the relationship of the fur trade to the government changed. The government of France had controlled the traffic, and made it a means of strengthening its hold upon the country it possessed. The policy of Great Britain was to charter companies and grant them exclusive privileges. The Hudson Bay Company had grown rich and powerful between 1670 and 1760. Its success had excited the cupidity of capitalists, and rival organizations were formed. The business of the company had been done at their trading-stations --- the natives bringing in their furs for exchange and barter. Other companies sent their voyageurs into every nook and corner to traffic with the trappers, and even to catch the fur-bearing animals themselves. In the progress of time, private parties, engaged in trapping and dealing in furs, and, under the competition created, the business became less profitable. In 1815 Congress passed an act prohibiting foreigners from dealing in furs in the United States, or any of its territories. This action was obtained through the influence of John Jacob Astor. Mr. Astor organized the American Fur Company in 1809, and afterward, in connection with the Northwest Company, bought out the Mackinaw Company, and the two were merged in the Southwest Company. The association was suspended by the War of 1812. The American re-entered the field in 1816.
A more specific relation of these events is the following account from the pen of Eyman C. Draper, of Madison, Wis.:
"In 1783 several of the principal merchants of Montreal entered into a partnership to prosecute the fur trade, and, in 1787, united with a rival company, and thus arose the famous Northwest Company, which, for many years, held lordly sway over the immense region in Canada and beyond the great western lakes. Several years later a new association of British merchants formed the Mackinaw Company, having their chief factory or depot at Mackinaw; and their field of operations was south of their great rivals; sending forth their light peroques and bark canoes, by Green Bay, the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the Mississippi, and thence down that stream to all its tributaries. In 1809 Mr. Astor organized the American Fur Company, he alone constituting the company; and in 1811, in connection with certain partners of the Northwest Company, and others, he bought out the Mackinaw Company, and merged that and his American Fur Company into a new association, called the Southwest Company. By this arrangement Mr. Astor became proprietor of one-half of all the interests which the Mackinaw company had in the Indian country within the United States; and it was understood that the whole, at the expiration of five years, was to pass into his hands, on condition that the American or Southwest Company would not trade within the British dominions. The War of 1812 suspended the association, and after the war it was entirely dissolved, Congress having passed a law prohibiting British fur traders from prosecuting their enterprises within the territories of the United States. Mr. Crooks, in 1815, closed up the affairs of the Southwest Company, preliminary to enlarged individual enterprise on the part of Mr. Astor."
In the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Wisconsin (1878), the subject is treated of in these words: "Loth to relinquish the profitable fur trade, that government [Great Britain] held possession of Mackinaw long after it acknowledged the independence of the United States by the treaty of peace in 1783. Although it relinquished all claim to this territory by the Jay treaty in 1796, that traffic was made a lever by which the Wisconsin outposts were held as subservient as before to British interests. The trade was for a long period controlled by an association of merchants at Montreal, known as the Northwestern Fur Company. The Mackinaw Company was formed somewhat later, and operated toward Green bay and the upper Mississippi. Their goods were brought through Canada, and having control of the fountains of supply they closed the door against competition from the United States. The traders at Prairie du Chien, as at other outposts, were usually agents of one or the other of the great companies, and their employes were engaged mostly at Montreal by contracts of the ironclad discription. There were few, either traders or employes, independent of these associations. In 1809, John Jacob Astor endeavored to establish the American Fur Company, but abandoned the undertaking and joined the Northwest Company in 1811 in buying out the Mackinaw Company, merging that and the American in the Southwest Company, of which Astor owned a half interest, with the arrangement that after five years it was to pass into his hands altogether, being restricted in its operations to the territories of the United States. The War of 1812 suspended this association, and at its close British traders were prohibited by law from pursuing their vocation within United States dominions; consequently the Southwest Company was wound up, and the American Fur Company reappeared under Astor's exclusive control, with its western headquarters at Mackinaw. But the British traders evaded the prohibition by sending their goods across the lines in the name of American clerks. Being of superior quality, their wares still commanded the Indian trade, while on the other hand the prohibition cut off the new American Company from the customary channel of supply, and its goods began to be imported to New York, and introduced by way of the lakes in 1816. They were at first of inferior quality, especially the guns, cloths and blankets, and it was several years before acceptable merchandise for the Indian trade could be procured through this quarter, such was the hold of the British traders upon the foreign manufacturers. When accomplished, however, they were supplanted, and the people of this region were released from their grasp."
A United States factory was established at Prairie du Chien in 1816, in charge of John W. Johnson, a worthy man, who remained in the discharge of his duties until the establishment was closed out by the winding up of the system in 1832, when he removed to St. Louis. These factories were established for the purpose of counteracting British influence and preventing extortion by the traders by furnishing goods to the Indians at fair rates, under the direct supervision of government agents. They, however, fell short of accomplishing their purpose on account of the inferior quality of the goods usually furnished.
Until 1816 goods came mostly from Montreal in bateaux or canoes, mostly by the Mackinaw or its successor, the Southwest company, or by some private traders. But early in 1815 Mr. Astor purchased the interest of the Southwest company at Mackinaw and its dependencies, and in August of that year Ramsey Crooks, as already mentioned, went to Mackinaw as agent for Mr. Astor to complete the arrangements. In the spring of 1816 the goods of the American Fur Company were imported to New York, and thence by way of the lakes to Mackinaw. During the spring several Montreal traders arriving at Mackinaw with Indian goods, probably not aware of the law of Congress prohibiting British subjects from trading within the American territories, now took advantage of the order of the secretary of the treasury, and sent their goods into the Indian country, under the nominal direction of a hired American clerk, to whom the goods were invoiced and who took the license in his name, and gave proper bonds with security to the traders who owned them, who went along ostensibly as interpreters, until the boat passed all the American forts and agencies, when they assumed the ownership, and proceeded as usual in their business --- these clerks' bonds were considered as a mere formality to evade the law, and were worth so much brown paper, and no more.
In the spring of 1817 the American Fur Company brought a large number of American clerks from Montreal and the United States, some of whom made good Indian traders and are yet in the country, but nearly one-half of them were found not qualified for the business, and in the following spring many of them were discharged from Mackinaw, which was the grand depot of the American trade.
The American Fur Company, as had been the practice of the Mackinaw and Southwest companies, made their outfits to Lake Superior, to the Mississippi, the head of St. Peters' and the Missouri. The boats for the Mississippi and Missouri trade passed through the north end of Lake Michigan from Mackinaw, thence through Green bay to the settlement of that name; thence up the Fox river to the Little Kaukalin, where they made a portage of about three fourths of a mile. Augustin Grignon had a trading house at this point and kept teams to transport the goods and furs, (the men taking the boats empty up or down the rapids, as the case might be,) for which he charged about twenty cents per 100 pounds. The boats then proceeded to Grand chute, where the men made another portage of the goods or furs, and passed the boat over the Grand chute empty. Thence they proceeded to the rapids at the lower end of Winnebago lake, where they usually made half loads over the rapids into the lake. Thence they proceeded upward to where the Fox river enters the lake, thence up Fox river through Puckawa lake, and Lac de Boeuf, or Buffalo lake, and some smaller lakes to portage of Wisconsin, where a man by the name of Roy resided, who kept teams and hauled goods, furs and boats across the portage of one and one-fourth miles from the Fox to the Wisconsin river, for which he charged forty cents per 100 pounds, and $10 for each boat.
The boats then went down the Wisconsin to its mouth, and thence up the Mississippi about three miles to Prairie du Chien; the traders of the lower Mississippi and Missouri never going down without a short stop at Prairie du Chien, where they generally spent some days in conviviality, dinners, dancing, etc. Tradition says that many years since, when there were many wintering traders in both the upper and lower Mississippi, it was the custom of every trader visiting Prairie du Chien to have in store a keg of eight or nine gallons of good wine for convivial purposes when they should again meet in the spring, on which occasions they would have great dinner parties, and, as is the English custom, drink largely. But in1816 there were but few of the old traders remaining, and the storing of wine at Prairie du Chien had become almost obsolete, although the traders were then well supplied with wine, and that of the best kind, of which they made very free use. It was then thought that a clerk in charge of an outfit must have his keg of wine, but after the American Fur Company got fairly initiated into the trade they abolished the custom of furnishing their clerks with this luxury at the expense of the outfit. As has already been said, the Indian trade of the Mississippi and Missouri and their tributaries was carried on from Mackinaw as the grand depot of the trade of the northwest.
The traders and their clerks were then the aristocracy of the country, and to a Yankee at first sight, presented a singular state of society. To see gentlemen selecting wives of the nut-brown natives, and raising children of mixed blood, the traders and clerks living in as much luxury as the resources of the country would admit, and the engages or boatmen living upon soup made of hulled corn with barley, tallow enough to season it, devoid of salt, unless they purchased it themselves at a high price --- all this to an American was a novel mode of living, and appeared to be hard fare; but to a person acquainted with the habits of life of the Canadian peasantry, it would not look so much out of the way, as they live mostly on pea soup, seasoned with a piece of pork boiled down to grease; seldom eating pork except in the form of grease that seasons their soup. With this soup, and a piece of coarse bread, their meals were made; hence the change from pea soup to corn is not so great, or the fare much worse than that to which they had been accustomed, as the corn is more substantial than peas, not being so flatulent.
These men engaged in Canada generally for five years for Mackinaw and its dependencies, transferable like cattle to any one who wanted them, at generally about 500 livres a year, or in our currency, about $83.33; furnished with a yearly equipment or outfit of two cotton shirts, one three point or triangular blanket, a portage collar and one pair of beef shoes; being obliged, in the Indian country to purchase their moccasins, tobacco, pipes and other necessaries at the price the trader saw fit to charge for them. Generally at the end of five years these poor voyageurs were in debt from $50 to $150 and could not leave the country until they had paid their indebtedness; and the policy of the traders was to keep as many of them in the country as they could; and to this end they allowed and encouraged their engagees to get in debt during the five years, which of necessity required them to remain.
These new hands were by the old voyageurs called in derision mangeurs de lard --- pork eaters, as on leaving Montreal, and on the route to Mackinaw, they were fed on pork, hard bread and pea soup, while the old voyageurs in the Indian country ate corn soup, and such other food as could conveniently be procured. These mangeurs de lard were brought at considerable expense and trouble from Montreal and other parts of Canada, frequently deserting after they had received some advance in money and their equipment. Hence it was the object of the traders to keep as many of the old voyageurs in the country as they could, and they generally permitted the mangeurs de lard to get largely in debt, as they could not leave the country and get back into Canada, except by the return boats or canoes which brought the goods, and they would not take them back if they were in debt anywhere in the country, which could be easily ascertained from the traders at Mackinaw. But if a man was prudent enough to save his wages, he could obtain passage, as he was no longer wanted in the country.
The climate of a country, or that peculiar state of the atmosphere in regard to heat and moisture which prevails in any given place, and which directly affects the growth of plants and animals, is determined by the following causes: 1st, distance from the equator; 2d, distance from the sea; 3d, height above the sea; 4th, prevailing winds; and 5th, local influences, such as soil, vegetation and proximity to lakes and mountains.
Of these causes, the first, distance from the equator, is by far the most important. The warmest climates are necessarily those of tropical regions where the sun's rays are vertical. But in proceeding from the equator toward the poles, less and less heat continues to be received by the same extent of surface, because the rays fall more and more obliquely, and the same amount of heat-rays therefore spread over an increasing breadth of surface; while, however, with the increase of obliquity, more and more heat is absorbed by the atmosphere, as the amount of air to be penetrated is greater. If the earth's surface were either wholly land or water, and its atmosphere motionless, the graduations of climate would run parallel with the latitudes from the equator to the poles. But owing to the irregular distribution of land and water and the prevailing winds, such an arrangement is impossible, and the determination of the real climate of a given region, and its causes, is one of the most difficult problems of science.
On the second of these causes, distance from the sea, depends the difference between oceanic and continental climates. Water is more slowly heated and cooled than land; the climates of the sea and the adjacent land are therefore much more equal and moist than those of the interior.
A decrease of temperature is noticeable in ascending high mountains. The rate at which the temperature falls with the height above the sea is a very variable quantity, and is influenced by a variety of causes, such as latitude, situation, moisture, or dryness, hour of the day and season of the year. As a rough approximation, however, the fall of 1 deg. of the thermometer for every 300 feet is usually adopted.
Air in contact with any part of the earth's surface, tends to acquire the temperature of that surface. Hence, winds from the north are cold; those from the south are warm. Winds from the sea are moist, and winds from the land are usually dry. Prevailing winds are the result of the relative distribution of atmospheric pressure blowing from places where the pressure is highest, toward places where it is lowest. As climate practically depends on the temperature and moisture of the air, and as these again depend on the prevailing winds which come charged with the temperature and moisture of the regions they have traversed, it is evident that charts showing the mean pressure of the atmosphere give us the key to the climates of the different regions of the world. The effect of prevailing winds is seen in the moist and equable climate of western Europe, especially Great Britain, owing to the warm and moist southwest winds; and in the extremes of the eastern part of North America, due to the warm and moist winds prevailing in summer and the Arctic blasts of winter.
Among local influences which modify climate, the nature of the soil is one of the most important. As water absorbs much heat, wet, marshy ground usually lowers the mean temperature. A sandy waste presents the greatest extremes. The extremes of temperature are also modified by extensive forests, which prevent the soil from being as much warmed and cooled as it would be if bare. Evaporation goes on more slowly under the trees, since the soil is screened from the sun. And as the air among the trees is little agitated by the wind, the vapor is left to accumulate, and hence the humidity of the air is increased. Climate is modified in a similar manner by lakes and other large surfaces of water. During summer the water cools the air and reduces the temperature of the locality. In winter, on the other hand, the opposite effect is produced.
The surface water which is cooled sinks to lower levels; the warmer water rising to the surface, radiates heat into the air and thus raises the temperature of the neighboring region. This influence is well illustrated, on a great scale, in our own State by Lake Michigan.
It is, lastly, of importance whether a given tract of country is diversified by hills, valleys and mountains. Winds with their warm vapor strike the sides of the mountains and are forced up into higher levels of the atmosphere, where the vapor is condensed into clouds. Air coming into contact, during the night or in winter, with the cooled declivities of hills and rising grounds becomes cooled, and consequently denser and sinks to the low-lying grounds, displacing the warmer and lighter air. Hence, frosts often occur at these places, when no traces of them can be found at higher levels. For the same reason the cold of winter is generally more intense in ravines and valleys than on hill tops and high grounds, the valleys being a receptacle for the cold-air currents, which descend from all sides. These currents give rise to gusts and blasts of cold wind, which are simply the out-rush of cold air from such basins. This is a subject of great practical importance to fruit-growers.
In order to understand the principal features of the climate of Crawford county, and the conditions on which these depend, it is necessary to consider the general climatology of Wisconsin, particularly the western portion of the State, of which Crawford county is a part; and from this, the reader can readily deduce the character of the climate in the county.
The remarkable manner in which so large a body of water as Lake Michigan modifies the temperature has been carefully determined, so far as it relates to Wisconsin, by the late Dr. Lapham, of Milwaukee. It is seen by the map that the average summer temperature of Racine is the same as that of St. Paul. The weather map for July, 1875, in the signal service report for 1876, shows that the mean temperature for July was the same in Rock county, in the southern part of the State, as that of Breckinridge, Minn., north of St. Paul. The moderating effect of the lake during hot weather is felt in the adjacent region during both day and night.
Countries in the higher latitudes, having an extreme summer temperature, are usually characterized by a small amount of rain-fall. The Mississippi valley, however, is directly exposed in spring and summer to the warm and moist winds from the south, and as these winds condense their moisture by coming in contact with colder upper currents from the north and west, it has a profusion of rain which deprives the climate largely of its continental features. As already stated, the average amount of rain-fall in Wisconsin is about thirty inches annually. Of this amount, about one-eight is precipitated in winter, three-eights in summer, and the rest is equally distributed between spring and autumn --- in other words, rain is abundant at the time of the year when it is most needed. In Wisconsin the rainfall is greatest in the southwestern part of the State; the least, on and along the shore of Lake Michigan. This shows that the humidity of the air of a given area can be greater, and the rainfall less than that of some other.
In comparison with western Europe, even where the mean temperature is higher than in the Mississippi valley, the most striking fact in the climatic conditions of the United States is the great range of plants of tropical or subtropical origin, such as Indian corn, tobacco, etc. The conditions on which the character of the vegetation depends are temperature and moisture, and the mechanical and chemical composition of the soil.
The basis of this great capacity (the great range of plants) is the high curve of heat and moisture for the summer, and the fact that the measure of heat and rain are almost or quite tropical for a period in duration from one to five months, in the range from Quebec to the coast of the gulf. Indian corn attains its full perfection between the summer isotherms 72 deg. and 77 deg., in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas; but it may be grown up to the line of 65 degs., which includes the whole of Wisconsin. The successful cultivation of this important staple is due to the intense heat of summer and a virgin soil rich in nitrogen.
While Milwaukee and central Wisconsin have a mean annual temperature of 45 deg., that of southern Ireland and central England is 50 deg.; the line of 72 deg., the average temperature for July, runs from Walworth county to St. Paul, while during the same month Ireland and England have a mean temperature of only 60 deg. In Wisconsin, the thermometer rises as high as 90 deg. and above, while the range above the mean in England is very small. It is the tropical element of our summers, then, that causes the grape, the corn, etc., to ripen, while England, with a higher mean temperature, is unable to mature them successfully. Ireland, where southern plants may remain out-doors, unfrosted the whole winter, cannot mature these fruits and grasses which ripen in Wisconsin. In England a depression of 2 deg. below the mean of 60 deg. will greatly reduce the quantity, or prevent the ripening of wheat altogether, 60 deg. being essential to a good crop. Wheat requiring a lower temperature than corn, is better adapted to the climate of Wisconsin. This grain may be grown as far north as Hudson bay.
Autumn, including September, October and November, is of a short duration in Wisconsin. North of the 42d parallel, or the southern boundary line of the State, November belongs properly to the winter months, its mean temperature being about 32 deg. The decrease of heat from August to September is generally from 8 deg. to 9 deg., 11 deg. from September to October, and 14 deg. from October to November. The average temperature for these three months is about 45 deg. A beautiful season, commonly known as Indian summer, frequently occurs in the latter part of October and in November. This period is characterized by a mild temperature and a hazy, calm atmosphere. According to Loomis, this appears to be due to "an uncommonly tranquil condition of the atmosphere, during which the air becomes filled with dust and smoke arising from numerous fires, by which its transparency is greatly impaired." This phenomenon extends as far north as Lake Superior, but it is more conspicuous and protracted in Kansas and Missouri, and is not observed in the southern States.
Destructive frosts generally occur in September, and sometimes in August. "A temperature of 36 deg. to 40 deg. at sunrise is usually attended with frosts destructive to vegetation, the position of the thermometer being usually such as to represent less than the actual refrigeration at the open surface." In 1875, during October, at Milwaukee, the mercury fell seven times below the freezing point, and twice below zero in November, the lowest being 14 deg.
The winters are generally long and severe, but occasionally mild and almost without snow. The mean winter temperature varies between 23 deg. in the southeastern part of the State, and 16 deg. at Ashland, in the northern. For this season the extremes are great. The line of 20 deg. is of importance, as it marks the average temperature which is fatal to the growth of all the tender trees, such as the pear and the peach. In the winter of 1875-'76, the mean temperature for December, January and February, in the upper lake region, was about 4 deg. above the average mean for many years, while during the previous winter the average temperature for January and February was about 12 deg. below the mean for many years, showing a great difference between cold and mild winters. In the same winter, 1875-76, at Milwaukee, the thermometer fell only six times below zero, the lowest being 12 deg., while during the preceding winter the mercury sank thirty-six times below zero, the lowest being 23 deg. In the northern and northwestern part of the State the temperature sometimes falls to the freezing point of mercury. During the exceptionally cold winter of 1872-3, at La Crosse, the thermometer sank nearly fifty times below zero; on December 24, it indicated 37 deg. below, and on January 18, 43 deg. below zero, averaging about 12 deg. below the usual mean for those months. The moderating effect of Lake Michigan can be seen by observing how the lines indicating the mean winter temperature curve northward as they approach the lake. Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Grand Traverse region of Michigan, have the same average winter temperature. The same is true regarding Galena, Ill., Beloit and Kewaunee. A similar influence is noticed in all parts of the State. Dr. Lapham concludes that this is not wholly due to the presence of Lake Michigan, but that the mountain range which extends from a little west of Lake Superior to the coast of Labrador (from 1100 to 2240 feet high) protects the lake region in no inconsiderable degree from the excessive cold of winter.
According to the same authority, the time at which the Milwaukee river was closed with ice, for a period of nine years, varied between November 15 and December 1; the time at which it became free from ice, between March 3 and April 13. In the lake district, snow and rain are interspersed through all the winter months, rain being sometimes as profuse as at any other season. In the northwestern part the winter is more rigid and dry. Northern New York and the New England States usually have snow lying on the ground the whole winter, but in the southern lake district it rarely remains so long. In 1842 and 1843, however, sleighing commenced about the middle of November, and lasted till about the same time in April --- five months.
The average temperature for the three months of spring, March, April and May, from Walworth county to St. Paul, is about 45 deg. In central Wisconsin the mean for March is about 27 deg., which is an increase of nearly 7 deg. from February. The lowest temperature of this month in 1876 was 40 deg. above zero. April shows an average increase of about 9 deg. over March. In 1876 the line of 45 deg. for this month passed from La Crosse to Evanston, Ill., touching Lake Erie at Toledo, showing that the interior west of Lake Michigan is warmer than the lake region. The change from winter to spring is more sudden in the interior than in the vicinity of the lakes. "In the town of Lisbon, fifteen miles from Lake Michigan," says Dr. Lapham, "early spring flowers show themselves about ten days earlier than on the lake. In spring, vegetation in places remote from the lakes, shoots up in a very short time, and flowers show their petals, while on the lake shore the cool air retards them and brings tem more gradually into existence." The increase from April to May is about fifteen degrees. In May, 1876, Pembina and Milwaukee had nearly the same mean temperature, about 55 degrees.
The extremes of our climate and the sudden changes of temperature no doubt have a marked influence, both physically and mentally, on the American people. And though a more equable climate may be more conducive to perfect health, the great range of our climate from arctic to tropical, and the consequent variety and abundance of vegetable products, combine to make the Mississippi valley, perhaps, one of the most favorable areas in the world for the development of a strong and wealthy Nation.
During the months of summer, in the interior of the eastern United States, at least three fourths of the rainfall is in showers usually accompanied by electrical discharges and limited to small areas. But in autumn, winter and spring, nearly the whole precipitation takes place in general storms extending over areas of 300, 500 and sometimes over 1000 miles in diameter, and generally lasting two or three days. An area of low atmospheric pressure causes the wind to blow toward that area from all sides, and when the depression is sudden and great, it is accompanied by much rain or snow. On account of the earth's rotation, the wind blowing toward this region of low pressure is deflected to the right, causing the air to circulate around the center with a motion spirally inward. In our latitude the storm commences with east winds. When the storm center, or area of lowest barometer, is to the south of us, the wind gradually veers, as the storm passes from west to east with the upper current, round to the northwest by the north point. On the south side of the storm center the winds veer from southeast to southwest by the south point. The phenomena attending such a storm, when we are in or near the part of its center, are usually as follows: After the sky has become overcast with clouds, the wind from the northeast generally begins to raise and blow in the opposing direction of the march of the storm. The clouds which are now moving over us discharge rain or snow according to circumstances. The barometer continues to fall, and the rain or snow is brought obliquely down from the northern quarter by the prevailing wind. After a while the wind changes slightly in direction and then ceases. The thermometer rises and the barometer has reached its lowest point. This is the center of the storm. After the calm the wind has changed from its direction to northwest or west. The wind blows again, usually more violently than before, accompanied by rain or snow which is now generally of short duration. The sky clears, and the storm is suddenly succeeded by a temperature 10 or 20 degrees below the mean. Most of the rain and snow falls with the east winds, or before the center passes a given point. The path of these storms is from west to east, or nearly so, and only seldom in other directions. These autumn, winter and spring rains are generally first noticed on the western plains, but may originate at any point along their path, and move eastward with an average velocity of about twenty miles an hour in summer and thirty miles in winter, but some times attaining a velocity of over fifty miles, doing great damage on the lakes. In predicting these storms, the signal service of the army is of incalculable practical benefit, as well as in collecting data for scientific conclusions.
A subject of the greatest importance to every inhabitant of Wisconsin is the influence of forests on climate and the effects of disrobing a country of its trees. The general influence of forests in modifying the extremes of temperature, retarding evaporation and the increased humidity of the air, has already been mentioned. That clearing the land of trees increases the temperature of the ground in summer, is so readily noticed that it is scarcely necessary to mention it; while in winter the sensible cold is never so extreme in woods as on the open surface exposed to the full force of the winds. The lumbermen in Canada and the northern United States labor in the woods without inconvenience when the mercury stands many degrees below zero, while in the open grounds, with only a moderate breeze, the same temperature is almost insupportable. In the State of Michigan it has been found that the winters have greatly increased in severity within the last forty years, and that this increased severity seems to move along even-paced with the destruction of the forest. Thirty years ago the peach was one of the most abundant fruits of that State; at that time frost, injurious to corn at any time from May to October, was a thing unknown. Now the peach is an uncertain crop, and frost often injures the corn. The precise influence of forests on temperature may not at present admit of definite solution, yet the mechanical screen which they furnish to the soil, often far off to the leeward of them is sufficiently established, and this alone is enough to encourage extensive planting wherever this protection is wanting.
With regard to the quantity of rain-fall, we cannot positively affirm that the total annual quantity of rain is even locally diminished or increased by the destruction of the woods, though both theoretical considerations and the balance of testimony strongly favor the opinion that more rain falls in wooded than in open countries. One important conclusion, at least, upon the meteorological influence of forests is certain and undisputed; the proposition, namely, that, within their own limits, and near their own borders, they maintain a more uniform degree of humidity in the atmosphere than is observed in cleared grounds. Scarcely less can it be questioned that they tend to promote the frequency of showers, and, if they do not augment the amount of precipitation, they probably equalize its distribution through the different seasons.
There is abundant and undoubted evidence that the amount of water existing on the surface in lakes and rivers, in many parts of the world, is constantly diminishing. In Germany, observations of the Rhine, Oder, Danube and the Elbe, in the latter case going back for a period of 142 years, demonstrate beyond doubt that each of these rivers has much decreased in volume, and there is reason to fear that they will gradually disappear from the list of navigable rivers.
The Blue-Grass region of Kentucky, once the pride of the west, has now districts of such barren and arid nature, that their stock farmers are moving toward the Cumberland mountains, because the creeks and old springs dried up, and their wells became too low to furnish water for their cattle. In our own State "such has been the change in the flow of the Milwaukee river, even while the area from which it receives its supply is but partially cleared, that the proprietors of most of the mills and factories have found it necessary to resort to the use of steam, at a largely increased yearly cost, to supply the deficiency of water-power in dry seasons of the year. What has happened to the Milwaukee river has happened to all the other watercourses in the State from whose banks the forest has been removed; and many farmers who selected land upon which there was a living brook of clear, pure water, now find these brooks dried up during a considerable portion of the year.
Districts stripped of their forest are said to be more exposed than before to loss of harvests, droughts and frost. Hurricanes, before unknown, sweep unopposed over the regions thus denuded, carrying terror and devastation in their track. Parts of Asia Minor, north Africa and other countries bordering on the Mediterranean, now almost deserts, were once densely populated and the granaries of the world. And there is good reason to believe that it is the destruction of the forests which has produced this devastation. From such facts Wisconsin, already largely robbed of its forests, should take warning before it is too late.
Dissolution Notice. --- The patrons of the National Broad Ax, published at Boscobel, and Standard Bearer, published at Prairie du Chien, and others to whom it may concern, are hereby notified that I have, on the 30th day of June, 1864, dissolved the partnership heretofore existing between L. R. Train and myself, under the name and style of L. R. Train and N. B. Moody, as editors, publishers and proprietors of the above named papers and printing business thereunto attached.
I am completing arrangements to continue publishing said papers, so that subscribers will suffer no loss, and trust that our patrons will be better pleased with our new arrangements than with the old.
N. B. Moody.Prairie du Chien, June 30, 1864.
Bar Meeting. --- At a meeting of the bar of Crawford Co., Wis., held April 12, 1864, consequent upon the death of Lorenzo Barney, Esq., the sheriff of Crawford County. Ed. D. Lowry was appointed chairman, and L. F. S. Viele, secretary.
On motion of B.W. Brisbois, Ira. B. Brunson, William Dutcher and Benjamin Bull were appointed a committee to draft resolutions for the consideration of the meeting.
Mr. Dutcher, chairman of said committee, reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, It has pleased Divine Providence to remove from our midst, Lorenzo Barney, Esq., one of our most distinguished citizens and prominent and efficient county officers, by the hand of death; therefore,
Resolved --- That in his decease the community has lost a valuable, energetic and useful citizen, and the county an efficient, honest, capable and humane officer, and his family a kind and affectionate husband and father.
Resolved --- That as a tribute of respect and esteem, the county officers of the county of Crawford and members of the bar, attend his funeral in a body.
Resolved --- That we hereby tender our warmest sympathies to the wife and family of the deceased in their deep and irreparable affliction.
Resolved --- That a copy of these resolutions be signed by the chairman and secretary of this meeting and delivered to the family of the deceased, and published in the village papers, and also the same be published in the Milwaukee papers.
Ed. D. Lowry, Chairman.L. F. S. Viele, Secretary.
On motion of Mr. Dutcher, the chair appointed Judge Brunson, B. Bull, William Dutcher, B. Dunn, O. B. Thomas and L. F. S. Viele, as pall bearers.
On motion, adjourned. Ed. D. Lowry, Chairman.L. F. S. Viele, Secretary.
The governor has called a special election on Thursday, Dec. 30, to fill the unexpired term of Hon. Luther Hanchett as representative in Congress of the second district, which is vacant by his death, and which expires on March 4, 1863.
The election will be held in the counties of Rock, Green, Lafayette, Grant, Iowa, Dane, Dunn, Sauk, Richland, Crawford, Vernon, La Crosse, Monroe, Juneau, Adams, Portage, Wood, Jackson, Eau Claire, Tempealeau, Buffalo, Pekin, Pierce, St. Croix, Chippewa, Clark, Marathon, La Pointe, Ashland, Polk, Burnett and Douglass.
The election to fill the full term in the sixth congressional district, of which Mr. Hanchett was the member elect, will be held on the 30th of December.
The track of the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railway is now completed to the upper depot, where freight is now loaded. H. Baldwin shipped the first car load this week. He shipped 20,000 pounds of lard direct to New York, and has several car loads ready for shipment.
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The location of the county seat upon "the prairie," so long as the population was largely confined to that locality, was not, of course, felt to be a matter of inconvenience; but when the population had spread over the whole country the matter was looked upon by many in a different light. Action was finally taken in the matter; and, in 1859, the following act was passed by the Legislature:
An Act for the removal of the county seat of Crawford county.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in the Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. That at the next general election, to be held in the county of Crawford in this State, the qualified electors of said county shall be, and they are hereby authorized to vote for the removal of the county seat of said county, from Prairie du Chien to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter, of section sixteen (16), township number nine (9), north of range number five, (5), west, which last named place is hereby fixed as the point to which it is hereby proposed to remove said county seat; and if a majority of all the votes cast upon that subject at such election be in favor of such removal, then the said southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north, of range number five, (5), west, shall be the permanent county seat of said county.
Sec. 2. The votes cast on the subject of said removal of the county seat as above provided, shall be by ballot, said ballot shall have written or printed on them, or partly written and partly printed the words, "For the removal of the county seat to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north, of range number five, (5), west," or the words, "Against removal of county seat to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north, of range number five west, said ballots shall be deposited by the inspectors of election in a separate box to be by them provided for that purpose.
Sec. 3. At the close of the polls the said votes shall be publicly canvassed by the inspectors of election in the several towns, who shall respectively draw up a statement in writing, setting forth in words at full length, the whole number of votes given for the removal of the county seat to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north, of range number five, (5), west, and, the whole number of votes given against the removal of the county seat to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine (9), north, of range number five, (5), west, and shall cause a duplicate copy thereof to be made, which statement and duplicate copy they shall certify to be correct, and one of such statements shall forthwith be delivered to the clerk of the board of supervisors of said county, and shall be thereafter canvassed, certified, and the result ascertained and declared by the same officers as provided by law for canvassing, certifying and ascertaining the result of elections for county officers.
Sec. 4. In case a majority of the votes as aforesaid canvassed, shall be for removal of the county seat to the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north of range number five, (5), west, then and in that case, the county seat of said county shall be at the said southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section sixteen, (16), township number nine, (9), north, of range number five, (5), west, otherwise said county seat shall be and remain at Prairie du Chien.
Sec. 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved March 5, 1859.
But this law was not acted upon, so, in 1861, it was revised and amended as follows:
An Act to revise and amend chapter 45 of the General Laws of 1859 entitled "An Act for the removal of the county seat of Crawford county."
The people of the State of Wisconsin, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. Chapter forty-five of the General Laws of 1859 entitled "An act for the removal of the county seat of Crawford county," is hereby revised and amended as follows:
1st. By striking out from the first section of said act the words "next general election" where they occur in said section, and inserting in lieu thereof the words and figures "general election for the year 1861."
2d, By adding to the fourth section of said act the following proviso: "Provided, that if a majority of all the votes cast at said election upon the subject, be in favor of such removal, the records and offices of said county shall remain at Prairie du Chien, and the circuit and county courts of said county shall be held there until fire-proof offices are provided at the new county seat of said county, sufficient for the convenient and safe keeping of all the records of said county, and the convenient accommodation of all the county officers of said county who are or may be by law entitled to have offices furnished at the expense of the county, and until a proper room is provided for holding courts at said new county seat."
Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication.
Approved April 13, 1861.
The history of the effort made to remove the county seat near to the geographical center of the county (in the town of Seneca) is briefly this:
Prairie du Chien being in the extreme south western part of the county, an effort was put forth, by a number of the citizens of the county, remote from that place, to have the seat of government removed to a more central point. In 1861, for the purpose of encouraging the people to vote for the removal of the county seat, a company was formed and sufficient stock was subscribed, to erect a court house, which should be at the service of the county, until such time as the county should think proper to erect a more extensive building. The site selected for the building was on section 16, township 9 of range 5 west, about one mile southwest of the village of Seneca. A building was erected at a cost of about $1500. The stock was divided into shares of $10 each; the prime mover in the enterprise was Dealton Tichenor. There being no court house at that time at Prairie du Chien, it was supposed that the erection of a building suitable for court purposes and presenting the same to the county, would have a strong influence when the vote was taken for the removal of the county seat; this hope was verified at the election in the fall of 1861. It is said that the proposition to remove the county seat to Seneca received a majority of the votes cast, but that through some technical point of law, or artful management on the part of the opposers of the movement, the enterprise was defeated. But the building which might have been a court house still stands, and is at present used as a dwelling house.